Internship Struggles: Tips I Learned

March 9, 2018

 

After a lot of consideration, I decided to add a career page to my site. I have had all kinds of interesting career changes, paths and knowledge during my time at K-State and now in the real adult world. One of the biggest struggles for me was finding an internship before graduation. Internships are great starters to what type of career you want, give you real industry experience and can lead you into a path you never thought you wanted.

 

 It all started my Junior year of college when I had to take a class called Professional Development. This class was my absolute favorite class I took during my time at K-State because I felt it was applicable to the real world. We had to create resumes, cover letters, reach out to companies, create a website (which later became Kris and Tell!) and even had mock interviews with our peers. This class was a prep course for our summer internship class which we had to have to graduate. It was in the class that I learned how to keep track of all the internships and source for my first tip. 

 

1) Keep a document of who you have contacted and who to follow up on

 

I kept an Excel spread sheet and looked at this daily to track who I needed to follow up with. Follow up is so important in landing interviews and showing you have an interest in the company. The internship game is extremely competitive and there are so many companies out there to choose from. Keeping a spread sheet can help narrow down a) what companies you would actually want to work for? and b) who to contact for your top ones. I had a list of about 100 (hello overachiever side!) but it doesn't have to be that extensive. Stay organized and the right ones will follow. 

After my first semester of Junior year, I was prepping to go study abroad at the London College of Fashion in Central London for my second semester. I had heard back from a lot of companies and generally the emails I received were "thank you for your email, but we have decided to go in a different direction." I tried not to let the rejection get me down. Right before I left, I interviewed with a company in Dallas and had gotten offered an internship. After lots of thought and consideration, I decided to decline. This is where tip 2 comes into play. 

 

2) Don't feel obligated to take the first one you are offered 

Don't get me wrong, the company that offered were offering to pay and it was a big time offer but they couldn't offer me everything I needed. While it paid, I couldn't receive any college credit meaning if I accepted, I wouldn't be able to graduate on time. Was it a secure thing and could have been great experience? Sure. Was I happy I turned it down? Absolutely. If I had accepted, I would not have grown and stepped out of my comfort zone. Take the interviews, get the practice but if the offer doesn't have what YOU want (paid, field you want, ect) do not feel obligated to take it. Something more will come your way if you really want it. 

 

 After an life changing and incredible time in London exploring and learning all I could (study abroad post? I think that should be in the works!), I returned to KC at the end of April. I had exactly 1 month before the internship class began and still no leads and more rejection. While I had followed up, made it to last round interviews and applied to more and more, I was getting anxious and impatient about what was to come. I felt discouraged and felt like I should just take anything that comes my way. Yes, I wanted it to be paid and somewhere not in KC but at this point time was running out and I needed anything. Then I got a call from Target. 

 

I had forgotten I had even applied for Target's summer in-store intern program because it had been months since I had applied online. They called me on a Tuesday. I went through 3 different over the phone interviews and was offered a position at the end of the week on a Friday. It was an extensive interview process and felt out of my comfort zone. I decided to accept and I am forever thankful that I did which brings me to my last big internship tip. 

 

3) Pick the one that scares you the most 

Me in retail? Did I really want an internship in retail? I always had dreamed of being on the glamorous streets of NYC living my best Carrie Bradshaw type summer in the city life and here I was accepting a job in retail at my local Target 10 minutes from my house. But this internship gave me so much experience, knowledge, leadership skills and more than I could have ever imagine. I ended up leading an area of a store I was the least comfortable in and having the absolute best mentor in the world. I felt encourage, empowered to share my ideas and got a great family in Target. The company treated me so well meeting all my requirements and had every intent of hiring me once the internship was over (which I accepted and is now my full-time day job). Did I ever imagine this was the path I was going to take? NO WAY. But I am thankful everyday that it did because I would have never guessed this would be the best first path for me and what I want my career to grow into. So, pick the one you think you don't want. You will never know until you try and try again. 

I hope you all find my journey comforting as you apply for internships! Feel free to ask me any questions by emailing me or DMing me on any social media! Go for your goals and jump out of your comfort zone! 

 

With Love, 

 

Kris  

 

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